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  1. #1

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    Default My Jimi Hendrix CD Collection

    I have 85 Jimi Hendrix CDs, all legitimate Polydors, Warner Brothers and MCAs. I started collecting Hendrix CDs the day after Sept. 11th, 2001, the day of the now infamous terrorist attacks on the US. I decided to collect Hendrix CDs because I felt that our country was in jeopaardy and I wanted to preserve a unique part of our cultural heritage. I chose to collect Hendrix because I felt that his body of work uniquely represented my generation, and I wanted to collect his CDs to peserve that unique part of Americana. (I know how silly that sounds now.)

    At first I bought every sngle current release of Hendrix's catalog that Experience Hendrix had Eddie Kramer remaster for MCA. This was very easy and cheap, there are only about 16 titles plus The Purple Box. After that I had read that the Joe Gastwirt remasters were superior sonically, so I bought the entire Mankowitz collection on the MCA label from 1993. After that I was fortunate enough to meet a girl that had over 650 Hendrix CDs, and all of them were legit Polydors etc. So she schooled me as to the various differences and variations of Hendrix on Polydor and Warner, and I started buying some old Polydors and Warners. I got over 120 Hendrix CDs before I decided to sell off a few.

    Well I can safely say that my Hendrix collection has taught me a little about the sonic differences between the different releases of his catalog. Here is a short list of the best to worse releases of Hendrix material on CD.

    1. Japanese Polydor P20P series. Any Hendrix CD on this series will sound phenomenal, with a great detail and clean un-distorted sound stage.

    2. Japanese Polydor P33P series. This series of CDs is all most identical to the P20P series except it is not audiophile grade, it is consumer grade.

    3. West German Polydor. Excellent sonics and clean detail, second only to a good Japanese Polydor.

    4. US Warner Brothers. These generally used the same master tapes as the Polydors, but the manufacturing quality was not as high.

    5. The 1993 MCA remasters. These are a little warm and less detailed than the older Warner Brothers, but these are quite good sounding. These feature odd cover artwork done by Mankowitz, and are thus commonly referred to as the Mankowitz remasters even though the engineer was Joe Gastwirt.

    6. The new Experience Hendrix remasters. These are by far the worse sounding release of Hendrix material ever on CD. These CDs feature an all new remaster done by Eddie Kramer which is maximized and compressed, with too much digital processing of the trebel frequencies. I would avoid these at all cost if I had to listen to a Hendrix album.


    So there you go. The opinions expressed in this evaluation are not just mine but are shared by the serious Hendrix collecting community, (which oddly enough is populated with many females that collect as if Hendrix was some kind of Guitar God).


    Please feel free to post your thoughts about Hendrix or questions regarding Hendrix on CD.

    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

  2. #2

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    The funny thing about the Experience Hendrix remasters is that although the quality really sucks, the final sound quality was a decision that was made by Janie Hendrix and not by Eddie Kramer. Experience Hendrix has authorized some very obscure titles to be released on the Dagger Records label and all of these titles sound very good (as good as the original source tape allows). For a really good Hendrix CD check out MORNING SYMPHONY IDEAS on Dagger Records, mastered by Eddie Kramer. This CD really sounds beautiful, just Jimi with a guitar in a hotel room working on some new compositions. It is real sweet and mellow, and the sound quality is excellent.


    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    To everyone that has been reading this thread, I would like to make an amendment to my first post. In the first post I indicated that the 4th best sounding versions of the Hendrix catalog on compact disc were the old Warner Brothers copies. This is not absolutelt true.

    In the very early days of the CD, around 1984 through 1986, the record companies were transfering their "stock" music catalog to digital in order to jump on the CD craze. Most of these first generation CDs are excellent sounding flat transfers of the original master tapes, with absolutely no futzing with the sound. (Some of these original CDs were total duds that needed some digital manipulation to fix up a little.) Well the case with the Hendrix catalog is that Warner Brothers very early transfered the Hendrix catalog to CD, even while the copywrite and royality issues were being ironed out in court. Thus, the first generation of these Hendrix CDs on Warner Brothers are all flat transfers of the safety tapes that Warner Brothers had in their US vaults. These very early Hendrix CDs (1984 through 1986) on Warner sound fantastic, they are clean and have a very natural sound to them.

    Well in 1987 a judge awarded certain US distribution rights of the Hendrix catalog to a lawyer (I can't remember his name right off hand but I could look it up) that immeadiately formed a holding company called Are You Experienced, LTD. to handle the US distribution of the Hendrix catalog. This holding company immeadiately put a cease and disist order on Warner to hold production of the Hendrix catalog and ceased the original safety tapes that Warner had been holding in their vault. Are You Experienced, LTD. hired Sir Alan Douglas to digitally remaster the Hendrix catalog, and Douglas in-turn hired Joe Gastwirt to engineer the project. Sir Alan Douglas's idea of a nice sounding Hendrix album included a lot of noise reduction and digital mainpulation of the mid-range fequency, and even some over-dubbing of instruments that were recorded after Hendrix had died. These CDs are unique, and I own a bunch of them, but they are not the way to hear Jimi Hendrix play guitar, although they are OK to listen to on a very cheap stereo.

    So the the Warner Brothers discs that you really want to buy to hear Hendrix are the original releases that simply say "CDD pre-mastering by WCI Record Group." The ones that say "Digital remastering under the supervision of Are You Experienced, LTD." are to be avoided because they employ the Sonic Solutions No-Noise System" that strips away layers of the high end timbre that should be present from the way Hendrix played his guitar.

    Next I am going to discuss the AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE CD, and point out the different versions that are available on CD.


    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    Where can I find some of these Japanese Polydor CD's?
    Sony KDL-40V2500 HDTV, Rotel RSX-1067 Receiver, Sony BDP-S550 Blu-ray, Slim Devices Squeezebox, Polk RTi6, CSi3 & R15, DIY sub with Atlas 15

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    Originally posted by tryrrthg
    Where can I find some of these Japanese Polydor CD's?
    All I can say is that are readily available on ebay and they often turn up in used CD stores. An example of prices for the title ARE YOU EXPERIENCED are as follows;

    Mint MCA Mankowitz 1993 remaster: about $7

    Mint Warner Brothers: about $10

    Mint West German Polydor: about $15

    Mint Austrailian Polydor with unique picture disc: about $20

    Mint Japanese Polydor P33P: about $20

    Mint Japanese Polydor P20P: about $30

    These prices are of course general, and they flucuate regularly depending on who is selling and who is buying. I have seen Polydor P20Ps of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED going for as little as $8 at used CD stores, and I have seen them go for as high $60 on ebay. It just depends on the supply and demand.

    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    Hey Rocky....I'm a Hendrix fan also

    How do you tell the Experience Hendrix on MCA from the 1993 MCA remasters? The artwork?
    Unfortunately I got most of mine (except the purple box set) through the BMG and Columbia House clubs. I think they are the 1993 MCA remasters. I am a little disappointed in the sound quality, although there are some nice sounding tracks on the box set.
    I will definitely look into some of those other labels.

    Thanks, dragon1952
    Last edited by dragon1952; 07-09-2004 at 06:41 PM.

  7. #7

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    Originally posted by dragon1952
    Hey Rocky....I'm a Hendrix fan also

    How do you tell the Experience Hendrix on MCA from the 1993 MCA remasters? The artwork?
    Unfortunately I got most of mine (except the purple box set) through the BMG and Columbia House clubs. I think they are the 1993 MCA remasters. I am a little disappointed in the sound quality, although there are some nice sounding tracks on the box set.
    I will definitely look into some of those other labels.

    Thanks, dragon1952
    Yes, you can readily tell the 1993 MCA remasters by the weird Mankowitz artwork, but also in the back it will say "Copyright 1993, MCA Records". The new MCA remasteres are copywrited in 1997 through present and all have the Experience Hendrix Logo on the cover somewhere.


    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    One more little note about the 1993 MCA remasters; each and every one of them was a special picture disc CD. Also, the legend has it that when the rights for worldwide distribution changed hands from Warner Brothers/Polydor to MCA, Warner/Polydor did not turnover the original master tapes. Thus, these 1993 remasters actually sound a little murkier than the Warners, but the equalization and the noise reduction artifacts are significantly better than the last generation of Warner Brothers CDs, (the ones that say Are You Experienced, LTD.). These 1993 remasters were done under the supervision of Sir Alan Douglas for Are You Experienced, LTD. by Joe Gastwirt, and they actually sound better than the mastering that Joe was doing on the Hendrix catalog for Warner, (the dreaded Sonic Solutions No Noise versions that I described in a previous post). Although this whole thing may sound a little confusing, i.e.

    The good Warner Brothers before the Are You Experienced, LTD. remasters (circa 1984-1986),

    The bad Warner Brothers after the Are You Experienced, LTD. Sonic Solutions Joe Gastwirt remasters (circa 1987-1992),

    The good MCA remasters under Are You Experienced, LTD. with the weird Mankowitz artwork (circa 1993-1996),

    The bad MCA remasters under Experience Hendrix, as directed by Janie Hendrix (circa 1997 to present),

    once you have it all sorted out, you can easily tell the difference of the various Hendrix CDs by sight and sound.

    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    Saw Brother James at The Singer Bowl in Flushing, New York for $2.50.

    Warmup bands? First The Soft Machine. Second The Chambers Brothers. Third Janis Joplin w/Big Brother.

    $2.50



    TA

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    So, where does the Japanese Polydor P36P fit in?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  11. #11

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    They played that cd during the intermission.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

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    Thanks George, I feel better now.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    If I knew way back then that you were into Hendrix also, I would've called you. You could've come with us.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

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    I would have been there, you can bet on that!
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Damn! And I thought I was the schizznet with having the double disc set of him at Woodstock.:(


    Burn me baby, burn.
    Make it Funky! :)

  16. #16

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    Son, you ARE the schizznet just rolling out of bed in the morning. I'm a big fan of yours.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

  17. #17

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    Originally posted by George Grand
    They played that cd during the intermission.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)
    Come on you guys, you're just being silly. I have spent a lot of time and money on my Jimi Hendrix CD collection and I wanted to post my thoughts here to kind of enlighten everybody else that is interested in listening to Hendrix on CD, but if you guys don't want me to share my findings then just tell me that I am wasteing my time and I will stop posting on this thread. You guys hurt my little feelings and I cried all night long.

    About the Japanese Polydor P33P series of Hendrix CDs, these discs of Hendrix titles are quite nice sounding, the sonics are phenomenal and there is no use of any digital limiters. It happens that back in the old days, like the late 1960's and early 1970's, Polydor had the original master tapes of the Hendrix catalog, and these tapes were preserved in the vaults of Polydor in England. When CDs came into the picture, these original master tapes were sent to Japan, to JVC, to create digital masters because England did not have any digital transcription equipment at that time. These digital masters were created to be sent around the world, i.e. the Polydor pressing plants in Argentena, Australia, West Germany and England. While the tapes were at JVC in Japan, the tapes were sent across town to Polydor headquarters in Japan and transfered straight from the original master tapes to an analog umatic safety tape, and it these original analog safety tapes that are the source of the very early Japanese Polydor P20P series and the P33P series CDs. It must be remebered that only these CDs are sourced from these original analog umatic safety tapes, even the very early West German Polydor CDs and the English Polydor CDs are sourced from a digital master tape, although these digital masters were sourced from the original master tapes themselves.


    Rocky Bennett of the New Mexico Rocks
    Rocky Bennett

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    Rocky, we are most grateful for your knowledge and for sharing it with us. I hope you have a better nights sleep tonight. ;)
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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    Originally posted by F1nut
    Rocky, we are most grateful for your knowledge and for sharing it with us. I hope you have a better nights sleep tonight. ;)
    Thank you very much because I still want to tell you guys about the different mixes of AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE that is avalable on CD.

    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    I may seem silly about playing the CD at the intermission (I lied, it was the Gimme Shelter CD), but there was NOTHING silly about paying 2 dollars and 50 cents to see Jimi Hendrix. Got that feather right here in my little cap.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

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    Rocky,
    Keep it coming man....I love it. Also, I checked mine and the 'Are You Experienced', 'Axis:Bold as Love' and 'Electric Ladyland' are all MCA 1993 remasters. The 'purple box set' is a 'Experience Hendrix' release it appears. I also have the 'Blues' release on MCA and the 'Voodoo Soup' MCA release. I'll definitely be looking at the Japanese Polydor P20P series and the P33P series.

    George....sounds like some of the concerts I went to in the late 60's at the Fillmore in S.F. $2.50 for bands like Led Zep, Deep Purple, Jeff Beck, etc.

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    So Rocky,
    Where's a good source of the Japanese versions besides Ebay.
    I am looking at Tower Records and they have lots of Japanese Polydors but they don't say whether they are P20P or P33P. How do you tell?
    Thanks!

    Ooops! Actually they say Polygram.....not Polydor :(
    Last edited by dragon1952; 07-11-2004 at 08:30 PM.

  23. #23

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    I was born in San Francisco, but took my act on the road to Brooklyn by the time I was 3 weeks old. So I never saw anyone at Winterland or the Fillmore West, but I saw a ****load of good shows at the Fillmore East. Those were more like $5 or $10 if I remember correctly.

    George Grand (of the Jersey via Brooklyn via S.F. Grands)

  24. #24

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    Originally posted by dragon1952
    So Rocky,
    Where's a good source of the Japanese versions besides Ebay.
    I am looking at Tower Records and they have lots of Japanese Polydors but they don't say whether they are P20P or P33P. How do you tell?
    Thanks!

    Ooops! Actually they say Polygram.....not Polydor :(
    Are you talking about a Tower Records store or tower.com? If you are talking about tower.com, I didn't know that Tower.com sold used CDs. I would never buy a used Japanese Polydor Hendrix CD from a large retailer online because there is absolutely no way for you to be sure that the disc is a P33P or a P20P. But of course it is going to be a Polydor and not a Polygram, that is a mis-print and one more reason to be leary of purchaseing a used Hendrix CD from them.

    Both the P20P series and the P33P series of Hendrix CDs were manufactured from about 1984 through about 1988, and because of this relatively short manufacturing period, are all highly collectable. There are significant differences between the 2 series of CDs; the P33P series of CDs generally have the same mixes as the West German Polydors and the Warner Brothers, and the P20P series often contained mixes that were unique to that series only. Two titles come to mind for this type of variation between the 2 different series.

    Everybody knows that the ARE YOU EXPERIENCED album came out first in England on Polydor records before it was released in America. The album was released in August of 1967 on Polydor of England, Sept. of 1967 on Trax Records in England and also Sept. of 1967 on Barclay Records in France. It was not released untill October of 1967 in America and then it came out on Warner Brothers Records. These various copies of this now classic album were all siginificantly different; they had different cover artwork and contained different songs or different mixes of songs. The only thing that all of these releases had in common was that they had same album title. Well that is the vinyl history of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED, but the CD history is quite a bit different because by the time CDs came out in 1983, the copyrights of Hendrix material had went through several different court rulings has changed hands several different times.

    The very first CD pressing of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED that I am aware of is the West German Polydor which came out in early 1984. This CD contained the very original UK Polydor vinyl version of the track listing and mixes as well as cover artwork. After this CD release, Warner Brothers in America released the original American vinyl version of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED on CD in late 1984, this would be the now very collectable CINRAM CD edition. The DIDX CD which came out in 1985 was very slightly different in the actual running times of some songs, but the DIDX and the CINRAM are basically the same mixes, just different fade outs.

    Well the story gets a little murkier in Japan. Since Polydor International had full controll of the the Hendrix catalog in 1984 when CDs were becoming popular, they also controlled all of the original master tapes. Thus, the Japanese Polydor P20P of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED contains the infamous Trax Records version of this title, and the P33P contains the original UK Polydor version of this title, (the same version on the West German CD). Because of this, the only way to get all of the versions of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED on CD is to collect:

    The Japanese Polydor P20P which contains the original Trax Records version,

    The Japanese Polydor P33P which contains the original UK Polydor version,

    The Warner Brothers CINRAM which contains the original US Warner Brothers version,

    The Warner Brothers DIDX which contains the cuts that Experience Hendrix now uses on their "standard" version of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED.


    In my next post I will go into a little more detail of all of these differences if anybody is interested. (The story gets a little murkier for AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE on CD.)


    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    So I can see how Ebay might be the best source. Any online store that specializes in these types of releases (Japanese, West German, etc) ?
    This is getting complicated

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    It is very complicated collecting Hendrix CDs, like I mentioned I know a girl that has over 650 different Hendrix CDs, and they are legit, no bootlegs. This is very funny because in Jimi's lifetime he only made 4 albums:

    ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
    AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE
    ELECTRIC LADYLAND
    BAND OF GYPSIES

    Just trying to collect these 4 albums alone on CD will give yo several dozen different CD copies. For example ARE YOU EXPERIENCED:

    1. Japanese Polydor P20P
    2. Japanese Polydor P33P
    3. West German Polydor
    4. US Warner Brothers CINRAM
    5. US Warner Brothers DIDX
    6. US Warner Brothers "Are You Experienced, LTD. Edition"
    7. Austrailian Polydor with the real nice picture disc, (the now famous "purple haze CD edition")
    8. The 1993 Mankowitz MCA remaster
    9. The US MCA Experience Hendrix version
    10. The Japanese MCA Experience Hendrix edition in minature cardboard cover.

    That is 10 different versions that I could name right off hand of just 1 Hendrix title, so you can imagine the complications of actually collecting an all-inclusive Hendrix CD collection.

    Rocky Bennett
    Rocky Bennett

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    I have those 4 cd's, and it wasn't very complicated at all collecting them. As the cd's were released, I bought them. So, I have........4. I don't know which "pressings" I have, and the more I read, the less I care. Jimi hasn't made a dime off the purchases for some time now.

    That girl with 650 or 850 versions of the same 4 albums......... man I want to say something but I can't get polite enough.

    I'm fairly sick and tired of seeing the same 4 albums re-packaged as Greatest Hits, Plays the Blues, Ten From the Sun (made that one up I did), etc. etc.

    The guy released 4 albums. I bought the ones he released. Not the ones his sister, or the engineer, or some other yahoo decided to capitalize on.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

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    Actually I believe Voodoo Soup was studio stuff that had been intended for an album but hadn't been released yet. I'm sure Rocky will correct me if I'm wrong.
    And to tell the truth, the main thing I'm interested in is getting better quality pressings. The ones I have I think are average at best.
    Last edited by dragon1952; 07-13-2004 at 03:52 PM.

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    Rocky - Thanks for the history on those recordings. I like to know things like this for when I make a purchase.

    I will have to look into some of those aforementioned issues.

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    To tell you the truth, the reason I started this thread is because I was looking for some nice sounding Hendrix on CD and I happened to stumble across a whole sub-culture and history that I found interesting, and I wanted to share it with everybody. After all, isn't that why we invest our money and time into home entertainment systems, is to enjoy good sounding music and entertainment. I really feel that the new series of Experience Hendrix CDs on MCA sound bad, so I wanted to share the little bit of information that I have picked-up so that everybody else can enjoy a good sounding Hendrix CD. According to George, there is no difference and it is all a sham. I apologize to everybody for shareing my interest, but I feel if you are going to spend good money on a nice sounding stereo, then you should also play the finest sounding discs on that stereo that you can. I know that my zeal for collecting Hendrix on digital is my own bag, but if I could just help a couple of people aquire some nice sounding discs, then I feel that I accomplished something. If anybody is interested in asking me about a particular question about a particular Hendrix CD, just email me at:


    bighendrixfan@webtv.net

    And to George, I humbly apologize for takeing up all of your sweet time.

    Rocky Bennett of the New Mexico Rocks
    Rocky Bennett

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